Shreveport startup CyberReef Solutions has secured $1.3 million in investments to grow and expand its business nationally.
CyBerReef provides technology that makes transactions across the Internet more secure. Its customer is Verizon Wireless.
Raising the $1.3 million was a collaborative effort between several local investors and the New OrleansAngel Network. The lead local investor group is New Louisiana Angel Fund 1 (NLAF1), a group of 53north Louisiana accredited investors who have come together to make investments in startups such as CyberReef Solutions.
NLAF1 investor John Beaird said, “We are very pleased to have worked with the NOLA group on this deal and look forward to more opportunities to do so. The synergies of having over half the state working together keeps us on an equal footing with larger markets like Dallas and Austin. Even more importantly, Mike Eckert of the New Orleans Angel Network and his partners are bringing a lot more than just their dollars to the table. We, and our portfolio companies, look forward to adding in their unique experience and knowledge of the early stage investing ecosystem.”
The Biomedical Research Foundation (BRF) helps get companies such as CyberReef Solutions investment ready through its Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP).
In the past year, NLAF1 has made seven other investments similar to CyberReef that have impacted the community by creating over 39 good high paying jobs, expanding the local tax base, and diversifying the local economy.
In a released statement, the investors said, “We are stunned by the number of entrepreneurs we have seen in our first year — there was an obvious need for access to funding and services to get these businesses going.”
The other investor group from New Orleans, the New Orleans Angel Network, is made up of 120 accredited investors led by Mike Eckert, a seasoned investor and board member of the National Angel Capital Association.
“And isn’t that great then that New Orleans money helped Shreveport. …We’re getting entrepreneurs started, companies started. We’re helping economic development,” Eckert said. “And we’re causingthese entrepreneurs to stay in Louisiana.”
Hilton Nicholson, CyberReef Solutions CEO, opened an office in downtown Shreveport in November of last year. With his seed investment money and high profile customer Verizon Wireless, he now plans tohire seven salespeople with Verizon experience and will bring on two interns from Bossier Parish Community College.
“Without NLAF1 and the BRF/EAP there is no way we could have raised this money. They, along withMike and his team, are doing great things to pave the way for entrepreneurial development in Louisiana,” Nicholson said.
Louisiana startups are getting attention on a national scale. EAP companies are receiving investmentdollars from California startup mecca Silicon Valley.
“It is natural for this to occur – we have quality companies being started here in Louisiana, where adollar will go much farther than California. …These local investors are seeing value in this costdifferential and getting better deals on their investments,” Beaird said.
The Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program provides a suite of services to build sustainable and profitablecompanies. EAP analyzes the viability of ideas and products, matches them with informed investors andnurtures them through the critical steps toward market. EAP stimulates economic development in Caddo Parish and enhances the regional innovation entrepreneurial ecosystem of northwest Louisiana. EAP is an entity housed under the Biomedical Research Foundation. To learn more about CyberReef Solutions, EAP and the New Orleans Angel Network, visit Cyberreefsolutions.com; EAPLA.com; and Nolaangelnetwork.org.